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USA: Internet companies cut off service to 8chan after hateful content was posted by perpetrator of mass shooting in advance of attack

The online message board 8chan was cut off on Monday, after two companies terminated vital technical services following a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed 22 people. In advance of the attack, it is believed that the perpetrator posted a hateful message to the site. 8chan is known for allowing anonymous hate speech and incitement of hate crimes and the El Paso shooting is the latest of at least three mass shootings linked to 8chan. Soon after the shooting, web services giant Cloudflare cut off service, stating 8chan was a "cesspool of hate". 8chan then started leasing web space from Epik Inc., however 8chan then went dark after web services company Voxility banned the site and 8chan’s new host Epik. Voxility's vice president of business development Maria Sirbu said: “At some point, somebody needed to make the decision on where the limit is between what is illegal and what is freedom of speech and today it had to be us.”

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6 August 2019

Creator of 8Chan & former owner says site should be shut down before it leads to more violence

Author: Kevin Roose, The New York Times

‘Shut the Site Down,’ Says the Creator of 8chan, a Megaphone for Gunmen", 04 Aug 2019

Moments before the El Paso shooting on Saturday, a four-page message whose author identified himself as the gunman appeared on 8chan. The person who posted the message encouraged his “brothers” on the site to spread the contents far and wide... In recent months, 8chan has become a go-to resource for violent extremists. At least three mass shootings this year — including the mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the synagogue shooting in California — have been announced in advance on the site...Mr. Brennan started the online message board as a free speech utopia. But now, 8chan is...a megaphone for mass shooters, and a recruiting platform for violent white nationalists... Cloudflare, a service that protects websites against cyberattacks, said it would stop working with 8chan on Sunday night and the site went dark...And Mr. Brennan, who stopped working with the site’s current owner last year, called for it to be taken offline before it leads to further violence... “Shut the site down,” Mr. Brennan said in an interview. “It’s not doing the world any good. It’s a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It’s a negative to them, too. They just don’t realize it.”

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6 August 2019

Epik CEO Rob Monster says company has not made a definitive decision about whether to provide services for 8chan

Author: Andrew Allemann, Domain Name Wire

"Epik CEO Rob Monster statement on 8chan," 5 Aug 2019

Epik has accepted domains that other registrars have kicked out, including Gab.com. The registrar’s CEO Rob Monster said that it did not solicit 8chan’s business and is evaluating whether to offer it DDoS mitigation. Here’s Monster’s full statement... "Freedom of speech and expression are fundamental rights in a free society. We enter into a slippery slope when we start to limit speech that makes us uncomfortable... Specific to any of the “Chan” sites, Epik did not solicit this business. We have not made a definitive decision about whether to provide DDoS mitigation or Content Delivery services for them. We will evaluate this in the coming days. From what little we know so far, the Chans are not lawless and do have moderation, especially in regards to DMCA and content which is illegal in the United States."

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6 August 2019

USA: Cloudflare terminates service for 8chan after mass shooting, calling it 'cesspool of hate'

Author: Matthew Prince, Cloudflare

"Terminating Service for 8Chan", 05 Aug 2019

...In the case of the El Paso shooting, the suspected terrorist gunman appears to have been inspired by the forum website known as 8chan. Based on evidence we've seen, it appears that he posted a screed to the site immediately before beginning his terrifying attack... [T]his is not an isolated incident. Nearly the same thing happened on 8chan before the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The El Paso shooter...referenced the Christchurch incident and appears to have been inspired by the largely unmoderated discussions on 8chan... [Also], the suspected killer in the Poway, California synagogue shooting also posted a hate-filled “open letter” on 8chan. 8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate... We...are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight... [They] have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit... Almost exactly two years ago we made the determination to kick another disgusting site off Cloudflare's network: the Daily Stormer... We continue to feel incredibly uncomfortable about playing the role of content arbiter... Instead our concern has centered around...the Rule of Law... 

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6 August 2019

USA: Internet services cos. Cloudflare & Voxility cut off 8chan after mass shooting

Author: Frank Bajak, AP

"Online providers knock 8chan offline after mass shooting", 06 Aug 2019

The online message board 8chan was effectively knocked offline Monday after two companies cut off vital technical services following the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas , whose perpetrator was linked to the site. 8chan is known for trafficking in anonymous hate speech and incitement of hate crimes... A racist “manifesto” posted to the site is believed to have been written by the suspect in a Saturday’s killing of 22 people in El Paso, Texas... [C]ompany Cloudflare announced it was cutting off the message board...for being “a cesspool of hate.”... 8chan quickly found a new online host: ...Epik.com...Epik provides similar support for Gab.com, another social media site...that doesn’t ban hate speech. But on Monday,...Voxility...upended both Epik and BitMitigate by terminating its contract with the companies... “We have made the connection that at least two or three of the latest mass shooting in the U.S. were connected with these guys,” [Voxility representative] said. “[S]omebody needed to make the decision on where the limit is between what is illegal and what is freedom of speech and today it had to be us.”... Daily Stormer [was not] reachable... Neither 8chan nor Epik.com representatives could immediately be reached... 

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7 August 2019

USA: 8chan releases statement deflecting blame for platform's alleged role in disseminating hate speech

Author: Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian

"8chan: owner of extremist site lashes out as scrutiny intensifies", 07 Aug 2019

The owner of the extremist message board 8chan broke his silence on Tuesday in a...video statement that attempted to deflect blame for the role the platform plays in disseminating hate speech and inciting violence... Jim Watkins...defended the website amid growing outcry over reports that the alleged El Paso gunman, as well as several other mass shooting suspects, used the site to publish white nationalist manifestos ahead of violent attacks. “My company takes a firm stand on helping law enforcement, and within minutes of these two tragedies, we were working with FBI agents to find out what information we could to help in their investigations,” Watkins said... Watkins went on to denounce as “cowardly” the decision of the infrastructure provider Cloudflare to stop providing 8chan with its services... After Cloudflare cut ties, other service providers followed suit... “First of all, the El Paso shooter posted on Instagram, not 8chan,” he said. “Later someone uploaded a manifesto. However, that manifesto was not uploaded by the Walmart shooter... Instagram said the company has “found nothing to support this theory”... The Cloudflare chief executive, Matthew Prince, also confirmed on Sunday that the company had seen evidence that the manifesto was uploaded to 8chan before the attack... 

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